Jane Pratt, Editor in Chief, xoJane


"I remember reading teen magazines growing up, and not feeling like anyone in them. I wasn’t blond—then; I didn’t have a boyfriend. That's when I had that idea to make Sassy, a magazine that would be for the kinds of girls that I felt like I was. I didn’t want other girls to go through what I was going through. I wanted them to feel cool with themselves the way that they were... It’s the one good idea I’ve had in my career, and I just keep doing it again and again in different mediums: creating a space where women can support each other in a judgment-free zone, and be themselves completely. That’s Sassy, that’s Jane, and now that’s xojane.com and our beauty site, xovain.com.

When I was the Editor in Chief of Sassy, I’d get flack from parents about stuff they felt was inappropriate to be saying to teenagers. The thing I would hear a lot was, 'If you were a parent, you would look at it differently.' I always had that in my head: ‘How will I feel about this if and when I’m a parent? Will I be saying the same kinds of things?’ My daughter, Charlotte, is ten now, and it’s amazing to finally have a tween. I want to tell her things exactly the way I would say them in Sassy. I like to expose her to everything. But, we’ll see how it turns out. She’s more into makeup than I am. She and a friend of hers got into wearing a full face of makeup when they were about seven—I would let her put it on and go around the neighborhood. I remember one day we were walking and someone said, 'Oh, you were at a face-painting party!' I was like, 'No… That’s just what she likes to look like.' I don’t believe in waiting for a certain age for anything: ear piercing, first date, whatever. I don’t get it, but that’s just me. I think kids know when they’re ready for things. What’s the harm in wearing makeup and playing around with it? People would say, 'Well, it’s not her, it’s how other people would perceive her or treat her.' I don’t know. I call myself the World’s Worst Mom, and Charlotte even jokes about it.

I didn’t get into makeup until my junior year of high school, when I went away to Phillips Academy Andover, a boarding school. I wasn’t like anyone at Andover. I was a scholarship kid. I might have arrived with a tiny bit of blush from the drugstore and maybe mascara, and I though that was 'wearing makeup.' That was the formative experience right there. Within the first couple of weeks, one of the girls in my dorm started to make a list of the pretty girls in the school. I was really dumbfounded. I had never heard anything like it. I was thinking, 'We’re all pretty.' I actually really believed at that time, because I had come from an upbringing where it was all very positive. My mom, an artist and a hippie, would talk a lot about beautiful women that we would see, but there wasn’t one beauty ideal. It was some inner-beauty or confidence she was responding to. I try to celebrate other women’s beauty in that way with Charlotte.

My first year at Andover, I felt like a loser. People didn’t know I existed and I was really depressed, so all I did was study. It was terrible. That summer I did a horrible—in retrospect—makeover on myself. I started wearing a ton of makeup and doing my hair, for hours, to look like Farrah Fawcett. When I went back to school, people thought I was a new student. I just went with it. I was like, ‘Why not? Why even remind them that I was that girl from the year before?’

Makeup was my crutch and addiction well through college. I wouldn’t go out without it. I even missed an exam one time because I didn’t have enough time to get ready. I went to Oberlin, and that was not the vibe there at all, but I was so stuck in that way of thinking. But it was taking away from other things I wanted to be doing, so I started toning it down. Just a little bit less, a little bit less, a little bit less. By my junior or senior year, I was little bit more easy-going about it, and now I’m very laid back.

I’m so not attached to what I look like now. Those years of obsession, checking myself in the mirror, like, twenty times a day, got it out of my system. Now, I’ll go out with my daughter, and she’ll be like, ‘You have toothpaste on your chin.’ I won’t have even looked in the mirror.

On a regular day, I won’t necessarily wash my face. If I didn't put any makeup on it the day before, then there’s nothing that needs to be washed off—that’s the way I think of it. [Laughs] I learned that from Genevieve Herr, the amazing makeup artist. She’s older than I am, and gorgeous, with amazing skin. She just doesn’t wash her face. If anything, she uses a little water. I was like, 'I can do that.' When I do wash my face, I love Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser. It doesn’t fuck anything up and you don’t feel like you’re taking layers off of your skin or drying stuff out. I was given the Clarisonic, and I haven’t used it yet, but I will.

To moisturize, Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion makes my skin feel baby-smooth. I don’t know that it makes my skin look that much better, but I use that with Tracie Martyn’s Shakti Resculpting Body Cream on my face. One, it smells great, and two, it moisturizes without having any residual shininess or that oil-slick thing. I don’t know about the 'resculpting' part—I’m not really concerned about my body, but I am pretty concerned about my face. Clearly, I like Nu Skin NaPCA Moisture Mist because it’s almost gone. It’s an amazingly moisturizing spray that, again, leaves no shine or anything. I don’t like to feel like there’s something on my face, so mists are the kind of thing I can get behind. The Hydrating Antioxidant Mist from Kinerase is good, too. Courtney Cox, who’s an old friend of mine, was the spokeswoman for Kinerase for a while and she was giving me all of that.

If I’m getting my picture taken or have an event, I’ll use Tracie Martyn QuickFix Eye Pads. For someone who doesn’t take the time to do a lot of things, I actually take the time to do these because the collagen on them really works, and you can put them anywhere, not just under the eye. I cut them in half to get more out of them because they’re big.

I love products, but generally, I believe that how good you look is directly related to what you’re putting into your body. I drink apple cider vinegar on a regular basis. One of my beauty writers has amazing skin, and she told me that’s what she does, so I started drinking it, too. I also noticed that I look better when I mix this powder called ProGreens into juice and drink. I can see a really clear difference right away.

Makeup-wise, I wouldn’t say I’m really good at doing my own. I wish I felt more confident about it, and maybe it’s because I wore terrible makeup during high school, but I have other people do it now. I’ll even let anybody else on staff do it. At the beginning of Sassy, I would wet the makeup sponge and then I apply a little foundation with it. That was my 'thing.' Moving into Jane in my thirties, I started having Genevieve do my makeup. She would go do Anna Wintour’s face every morning at six. I slept late at that time, so she would come over to my place after—not every day, but as many as I could justify. She has an amazing trick that I call ‘butterfly fingers’ because she applies makeup with these really light, small taps of her fingers. I want to say that I learned that stuff from her, but I just knew I could get her to do it if I needed it. I do nothing to myself. It’s a preference and priority thing, because I consider working a more valuable use of my time.

For someone who doesn’t use many products, I use about ten on my eyebrows alone. I feel that full and thick brows make a huge difference now that I’m older. Anastasia Soare came and did my eyebrows at one point. But when I do my own, I always use the little stencil in the Anastasia Brow Express and fill it in. It totally works. The Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde is perfect. I mix it with a Vincent Longo pencil, and then I’ll put the wax on after.

On my eyes, I apply MAC Shadowy Lady with a sharp-edged brush if I’m going to do any kind of liner, because it’s not too harsh and it’s not black. And I’ll put Vincent Longo Medium Number 2 Camouflage Cream under my eyes or wherever there’s redness. I’ll also wear a little MAC blush.

Before getting my picture taken or going on TV, I stretch out the sides of my mouth as hard as I can with my hands. It gives me a nice, wide, Julia Roberts kind of smile—you know, the smile when there’s a gap between the sides of your mouth and teeth? That’s my favorite look. I especially try to stretch the top lip because it gets a little fuller. On my lips, I wear Edward Bess Deep Shine Lip Gloss—his products are amazing. And I always carry a few different lip balms with me, like Laura Mercier’s.

I’m not good about accepting an invitation to an event that’s coming up in an hour. I like to have enough advance notice to schedule an appointment with the hair and makeup person I most want, and time to use my Far Infrared Sauna. My sauna has moved with me three times. I first tried it in the L.A. office of my amazing holistic doctor, Dr. Charny. You have to be careful to get exactly the right kind—the ones that Scientologists use when they’re detoxing. Tom Cruise donated a bunch of them to the rescue workers after 9/11 to get all of the toxins out of their body. It works with or without heat, but it gets up to 170 degrees. Your skin gets an incredible glow, and it makes you feel like you’ve been sitting out in the sun. The way that I understand it, it cleans you from the inside out, heating you like a microwave. I haven’t done it in a couple of days, but you can really see a difference.

When I have something really major coming up, I’ll go see Tracie Martyn. If I had the time, I would see her once a month, but I usually end up seeing her two days before a big event to get the Red Carpet Facial. She also has an LED bed that I try to take advantage of. That’s so right up my alley. It helps with mood and dry patches. What else...I’ll go get laser treatments for the bags under my eyes, which have come up pretty recently; it’s an aging thing. I don’t believe that anti-aging products do that much, but I’ve gotten every possible kind of laser treatment, because I can really see the difference.

When it comes to my hair, I’m particular about products. I won’t even use hotel shampoos and conditioners when I’m traveling. I always bring whatever brand I’m using at the time. I like these Oscar Blandi shampoo and conditioners because they really hold the color. Depending on how healthy my hair is, I can usually let it air dry, but I travel with my own blow dryer. Last year, I was going to England a lot for work, and, of course, I was bringing my blow dryer with me. I didn’t realize that the wattage is different there, so it actually fried my hair. I was like, 'It’s working so fast here. This is amazing!' Then I came back and my colorist, Kyle White at Oscar Blandi, said, 'What did you do to your hair?' It took a while to figure out the culprit. After I dry my hair, I put in Sheer Gloss or Hair Serum.

For fragrance, I have a bunch of Kilian perfumes, and sometimes I’ll steal my daughter Charlotte’s Love’s Baby Soft. Otherwise, I use a locally made fragrance that I bought at my yoga studio. It’s a hippie-dippy scent by Givescent.

The thing that changes me the most is exercise. I do Pilates three days a week and I do yoga as often as possible, because it calms me down and helps me put things in perspective. If I had time to do yoga every morning, I’d be more chilled out, feeling better, and not taking things too seriously. Plus, it has this Botox effect, making little lines disappear. I couldn’t believe it. For a quick aerobic workout, I also spin. I can get it done in 45 minutes, but then my mind is spinning after. It’s just about what works for you, everyone is different."

—as told to ITG

Jane Pratt photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on April 9, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/ Nomadic D.

    Omg, stretching out the mouth for a good smile, that is hilarious! And Sassy was awesome. Just had to say it.


  • http://enzaessentials.wordpress.com/ Kristina

    Love sneaking a peek inside people's bathroom collections. I'm so nosy! Wonderful article to go along with the photos, as always
    xx http://enzaessentials.wordpress.com/

  • http://thenakedcoed.blogspot.com/ Dana

    Wow. I couldn't have dreamt of a better Top Shelf for my Monday afternoon. Thank you, ITG, thank you.

  • Mopsy

    Yeah, you lost me at holistic Dr-urgh.

    Although interestingly FIR is under trial for improving outcome in dialysis patients.

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    This was one of favorite Top Shelf posts. While I wasn't around to read Sassy in its hey-day, I fully appreciate what it has done for girls at large. I mean, to completely change the information that girls are being given -- or at least display it in a more empowering way -- was something that was really needed. Now Tavi is carrying that sentiment by way of Rookie. I love what Jane said about her advice for her daughter. I don't think that's being a bad parent, I think it is just a different approach, a sort of unguided parlay into the real world. This really brigthened up my day, thank you so much.

  • xoJanePratt


    • Hannah Johnson

      Love you, Jane. <3

    • http://twitter.com/Alouette_Jolly Ada

      Low maintenance at it's best Jane <3

    • MissWix

      Tracie Martyn herself told me the body cream is perfect for the face. She said it's the best kept secret because it's basically a super anti-aging face cream in a big body cream bottle. Also, thank you Jane Pratt for Sassy and Jane! I kept every issue in the attic for YEARS! xo

  • Ayşe

    She seems like a wonderful mom! I'd love to know the name of her nail polish, it's a great shade.

  • i2uthanne

    Two of my favorite website colliding - ITG and xoJane! Thank you, I love Jane Pratt!

  • Renetta B

    I really liked what Jane had to say about her state of mind after doing certain sports. I have tried to attend yoga classes several times because so many people say that it relaxes their minds. I find that my mind wanders so much during yoga and I have actually found more peace in running! Jane is so right, it is completely about what works for you as an individual. Great Top Shelf, I loved it!!

    • Kitekatze

      You are doing it right. The benefit of yoga is whichever way you do it is your normal You should let your mind have thoughts, you can't shut off your brain that's not the point but you need to recognise the thoughts and not let them affect your practice. it's the basics of verpashna meditation. your mind should never be blank. :)

  • http://anothermagpie.tumblr.com/ magpie

    I believe it's called, "this is why we love her."
    Bizarro and totally unashamed and amazing.

  • NeenaJ

    The idea of being microwaved scares me a bit. But, on the flip side, you look terrific! Also, those pajamas are.the.business.

  • murt

    Well - on the other hand, there are the spa treatments and regular professional makeup applications!

    Great Top Shelf - I really want to check out the infrared sauna now.

  • kathS

    clearly you haven't been reading this blog very carefully...

    • Tyler Eustice

      No need to be passive aggressive.

  • Katherine

    I love her attitude. Not everyone is a super model or knows how to do makeup like them.. great article!


  • lyz143

    Ugh I love her. After all these years, she still retains that child-like enthusiasm that I hope I have forever.

  • disqus_CbanJPpOR3

    people need to stop telling other people how to raise their children. you can do as you like with your children--that's your right--but you ought to show other people a little respect for their rights too.

    • disqus_vAzbjEC2N3

      Amen. It might not be possible to completely withhold judgement, but before you shame other women for their motherhood choices, maybe try to be a little more considerate.

    • kneelbeforetigers

      Yeah.... it's cool to think like that until these little demons start
      affecting day-to-day society. Sorry to tell many of you out there, but
      many of your little princes and princesses are absolute disasters and terrors. And
      it's all because no one got involved and told people that they WEREN'T
      raising their kids correctly. Like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Maya
      Angelou famously said: It takes a village. It also takes a true friend to tell you that your kid is BAD.

      • disqus_CbanJPpOR3

        Yeah but you're NOT her friend. You don't even KNOW her aside from an article about her MAKEUP ROUTINE you read over the internet. Like, seriously, you don't know her kid AT ALL other than she wears makeup. What's so dangerous about wearing makeup? How does that make her a 'little demon or terror'? Is the 'village' you're living in the same village Hester Prynne lived in? Is your sense of social morality so fragile that it's shaken to the core by a girl who wears makeup?

        Maybe she makes excellent grades? Maybe she volunteers at soup kitchens? Maybe she's a role model for other kids her age? Like seriously, you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THIS CHILD. AT ALL. NONE OF US DO, because we're all reading an article on makeup over the internet. I don't even want children, and these comments strike me as utterly ridiculous.

        • kneelbeforetigers

          Sure... but reading is fundamental: I was not talking about Jane's kid, I'm talking in a larger, global sense. I actually have no problem with her or the way she's raising her kid.... more power to her!

          • disqus_CbanJPpOR3

            RELEVANCE is fundamental. why hijack a post about a woman's makeup routine and make it about motherhood? if you want to talk about motherhood, then join a motherhood forum or read a motherhood blog! what is the point in having this discussion on a beauty blog? you don't even know if half the people reading are mothers. all you know is the woman who's interviewed is a mother. why make comments about motherhood here? it'll sound like you're attacking her either way because she's the only person anyone reading knows is definitely a mother.

    • Leetoki

      Agreed. Its not hard to say "Hmm, your thoughts are different from mine re: Child rearing. I think XYZ. But its interesting to see your perspective"

    • http://covenlosangeles.tumblr.com/ Luna

      AMEN. It's amazing that Jane lets her daughter make choices she can make yet it seems to me that she is also always there for her and is there to guide her if necessary. So many parents adhere to rape culture rules to strictly repress their daughters regarding their actions, clothing, and appearances. It's great that she teaches her daughter through example that we do not need to modify ourselves according to how other people might perceive/judge/harm us.

  • Cat

    I think the best thing my mom ever said to me is that I don't need makeup and that I am beautiful as I am. That gave me such a boost of confidence. You are never going to have as pure a natural beauty as when you are a child and should be appreciated without covering it up with layers of makeup.

    • Lulu

      Your Mom is a liar. Everyone needs makeup. She sounds nice though...

  • janet

    The product description actually suggests using it on the face--just fyi.

  • Charlotte

    love that purple/lilac/lavender nail polish!!

  • curiositycritten

    So what's the proper brand of Infrared Sauna? And do you have to set up a whole big thing you walk into, or does just wrapping yourself in an infrared blanket work? Inquiring minds want to know, anyone have experience?

  • icole

    Bookmarking this Top Shelf. What a lady.

  • Sarah

    No need to wash your face if you do not put makeup on your face. That is what Jane said! I agree!

    Very nice Top Shelf! Thanks, ITG!!!

    • Tyler Eustice

      I disagree. I don't apply makeup, but I cleanse every night as the build-up from the city (environmental pollutants, dirt, oil, grime) lands on my face.
      I can't imagine the amount of bacteria and film that must live on her skin from not regularly cleansing. Products penetrate better, makeup goes on smoother, and skin stays clean when you cleanse.

  • beeswaxnoneofyour

    Can't say as I buy into Scientology detox saunas, but the rest is interesting. Some people clearly have skin that can take no washing. As a severe oily skinned person, I can only marvel!

  • Mary-Claire

    Great interview and I couldn't agree more with the no washing of the face practice. For someone who uses very little or no makeup, a muslin cloth/ organic cotton pads and good ol' water will do. Skin reacts to rest and moisture better than any swanky cleanser. ps Jane, you're amazing!

  • brookesmasher

    thank you for you, jane pratt!!!
    you are luminous and inspiring and COMPLETELY oddballbonkers and EXACTLY what this world of wild girls/women needed, when it needed it
    i LOVE you so, always

  • Marie

    I second the sauna! I've been getting regular sessions for a while now and I'm loving the results. It sounds a bit crazy and pricey, but it's worth it. To be able to relax while detoxing is a win win. Definitely google one for your area...I've been going here http://detoxspaoflajolla.com/infrared_sauna.htm

  • Stacey Nishimoto

    'Oh, You were at a face-painting party!' I was like, 'No... 'That's just what she likes to look like.' - What an awesome mom

    • Lana

      SERIOUSLY made me laugh so much. What a fabulous way of looking at things.

  • Janine

    "I don’t believe in waiting for a certain age for anything: ear piercing, first date, whatever. I don’t get it, but that’s just me. I think kids know when they’re ready for things." Children aren't old enough or experienced enough to make such decisions or to know when they're ready. Magazines and TV tell them they're ready but parents are there to control is.. I love Jane but I personally don't like when parents talk like this. This is why kids are precocious X 1,000 today. Kids prefer discipline. Otherwise, give them $$ and an apartment at 10. Love ITG :)

  • DdR

    Ahhh I've always wondered about using a men's shaving cream flat top brush for make-up. Is it rad or not buds? The hair looks soft. Holler ITG!

  • Angela_E

    I've been thinking about this interview for a couple of days now. It's really provocative. I really appreciate Jane's willingness to share her awkward and insecure moments. It's so refreshing. I'm not sure how to feel about her daughter wearing so much makeup, and I really want to have a firm opinion on it. What I do like and respect is trusting your children and trusting that they will make good decisions. I also like the idea of a child coming into her body and being a physical being at a younger age and (presumably) being in the position of being about to talk with her parents about all of the things that have to do with maturing. I think that trusting (and prudent) parents really do right by their children.

    Non sequitur, but that photo of Jane reminds me so much of Isabelle Huppert - both beautiful women.

  • Janessa

    You felt bad about yourseld just because you were blonde and single? And you didn't want girls to "feel like that?" Feel like what exactly? Hair and relationship status can be changed and there are other things like race and gender that are portrayed in certain ways in the media, which makes people of color and other groups feel like shit - and unfortunately for them they can't change their color or gender. Whereas you just changed your hair and probably got a boyfriend. There. Problem solved.

    While I do agree that your magazine may have had positive effects on young women I disagree with the your sentiment. Try being a woman of color, or someone overweight, someone with physical deformities and so on, basically anyone who was not conventionally beautiful. You may not have been blonde, but you are a white woman who I am assuming must have been at least average looking. And even if you were not conventionally beautiful, at least your racial group is not marginalized, misrepresented, sexualised or stereotyped. Exactly how bad does being single and not-blonde make you feel, in comparison to the aforementioned social groups (deformed, transexuals, bisexuals and homosexuals, people of certain religious groups and people of color.) who are often scapegoated and so on. and the worst part is, your reasons for feeling rotten about magazines was your hair color and relationship status both of which can be changed. And both of which should in no way define your worth or self feelings. I like the concept of your magazine but as a woman of color who like millions of other women of color is hypersexualized, objectified, marginalized, stereotyped, and even ignored in the media, I can not reconcile with this. It's not cool of you to act as if hair color and relationship status is the deciding factor in self feelings, when there is so much else. At least acknowledge the day to day struggles of other women who do not enjoy your white privilege or "pretty" privilege either.

    • haleysname

      She used that feeling of being "excluded" as a stepping stone. I think it's more of a "if 'I' can feel this way, what about everyone else?" Anyway, if you do visit xojane.com or xovain.com, you will see many people with many different backgrounds writing. Please visit the sites, I hope you enjoy them.

  • SarEve

    Jane, I always hated the gap between the sides of my mouth and teeth when I smile and didn't understand why people always loved my smile. I finally feel good about it!! THANK YOU! And I use Aveeno body lotion on my face. It cured my rosacea!

  • Fm

    I like to read she doesn't wash her face if there was no make up, there are so many routines around beauty, a bit obsessive sometimes, it s great to read this and see she has a beautiful smile and face. Less products, more authenticity and happiness!!! Though I love to read about all beauty tricks and products, I also think you may need just 2 or3

  • malyann

    I just want to follow that exercise regimen...sounds so awesome(ly expensive)

  • abbyideally

    Hmm. Are you sure you're not talking about homeopathy?

  • http://theskiny.com/ Helen Vong

    I have such a deep respect for this woman! Love Jane!

  • http://Accordingtoame.blogspot.com/ accordingtoame

    God I love you Jane Pratt!

  • denverchic

    Love her :)


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